6e. Unit resources including technology
6e.1. Describe how the unit proposes to allocate resources across programs to ensure candidates meet standards in their field of study.
It is the responsibility of the division chair to ensure that all programs are equally funded. Early Childhood, Middle Grades, and Secondary preparation courses are scheduled to enable utilization for all programs of the Education Building classrooms which are equipped with teaching technology, smartboards, and student computer stations, or classrooms with computer or science lab resources as needed. All other primary classrooms to which program courses are assigned are also equipped with current teaching technology. Library resources supporting education candidates’ preparation are also prioritized to provide current, relevant resources for every program area. All students have equal access to student computer labs on campus for individual study.
6e.2. Describe the information technology resources that will be available to support faculty and candidates. Describe evidence that will be used to demonstrate that candidates and faculty use these resources toward improving teaching and learning.
Faculty and students have multiple technology resources at their disposal for teaching and learning; many of these uses are mandated as part of the teaching and learning process for teacher candidates. Students and faculty are required to utilize their portal access to Hawklink (CAMS), T.U.’s fully-integrated internet-based student records system which enables online registration; student portal access to financial aid, billing, unofficial transcripts, and course Blackboard shells; faculty portal access to advisees’ student records for advising and to automated grade reporting.
All students and faculty are assigned Thomas University e-mail accounts. Every syllabus states that students are expected to use T.U. e-mail as faculty, administrative and student services offices will communicate exclusively through this media for e-mail. Students are expected to know how to send attachments. Faculty are required to check T.U. email daily and expected to be adept with the features of Outlook for communication and calendars.
All education faculty and teacher candidates must effectively utilize LiveText. Faculty are required to record student assessment in the system, to use the system to evaluate student progress, and to assist students in building components of the E-folio throughout their progress in the programs. Students learn to use LiveText in EDU400 E-folio workshops and are accountable to building their portfolios systematically while they progress through the program. They are also expected to know how to utilize the learning resources provided by LiveText.
In addition, all faculty members are required to use a Blackboard Learn course shell to provide course resources and communication for each course regardless of delivery mode. Hybrid or online classes must fully use the Blackboard course site to create meaningful instruction, interaction between instructor and classmates, provide feedback on assignments, and utilize gradebook functions. Students are expected to use the tools within Blackboard with facility.
All faculty and students are expected to have competent skills using Microsoft Office suite programs. Use of Word, PowerPoint, and Publisher are required in education course assignments as evidenced in course syllabi. In the same way, certain courses specify teaching and learning utilizing smartboard technology and pedagogy; this is evident in course syllabi. Other course assignments require demonstration of mastery of internet search skills and use of GALILEO and other scholarly databases; professors along with librarians provide instruction for these skills.
6e.3. Describe the resources that will be available for the development and implementation of the unit's assessment system.
Though a faculty appointment, the Division Chair of Education is contracted for primarily administrative duties, teaching only one course per semester with three-quarters load for administration of the division and supervision of the division’s assessment system. Summer work is fully administrative. Release from teaching may be negotiated on a semester-to-semester basis with the Provost in respect to administrative demands.
The Division of Education also has a full-time Coordinator of Field Experiences and Assessment. This is a year-round full-time appointment. The Coordinator implements the division’s tracking system for placing teacher candidates in Field Experiences as defined in the Georgia Educator Preparation Rules and ensures the regular and systematic dissemination and collection of data collection instruments. The Coordinator of Field Experiences and Assessment also facilitates the systematic process of data compilation, aggregation, and summarization of those data collected in order to allow the unit faculty, all associated partners, and the administration to analyze candidate and completer performance in regards to the outlined outcomes, along with preparation program and unit performance.
The coordinator is assisted by the university’s Director of Institutional Assessment (a 12-month staff contract) in the production of meaningful reports from the LiveText system and from CAMS (the university’s integrated student records system) and with statistical analysis of candidate performance data.
Additionally, a full-time (40-hour per week) Administrative Assistant to the Division of Education is assigned to supporting the work of the division chair and Coordinator of Field Experiences and Assessment as her primary duties.
The university has assigned at least one Graduate Assistant to the Division of Education for up to fifteen hours per week each semester to assist with implementation of the assessment system and related division projects.
6e.4. Describe the library and curricular resources that exist at the institution or agency. Describe how the unit will ensure that they are sufficient and that they remain current.
The T.U. library houses over 34,000 holdings (print and media) in approximately 13,000 square feet of space. The library is open 60 hours a week and has reference, children’s literature, career, media, and general research collections available to patrons. As a member of GPALS, students and faculty utilize GALILEO and additional databases with online access to over 150 databases and nearly 300 journals from anywhere with computer access. The library subscribes to forty-four journals, and provides eleven databases/search engines fifteen reference resources that are education-specific.
The library has a reciprocal inter-library loan program. Patrons can make a request using an online form. Requested materials can be obtained in the library or shipped to a patron. Articles are delivered electronically.
Faculty can access library resources and professional librarian services. They can meet with librarians to find materials or to discuss specific course needs. Faculty can receive database instruction and learn about new resources. Computers, copiers, and scanners are available in the library. Laptops, Kindles, iPods, video cameras, and digital recorders can be checked out.
Students have access to library resources and to librarians for reference services. Appointments can be done face-to-face, in online chat, by phone or email, or through Elluminate. There are two computer labs for student use to encourage individual and collaborative research. A library commons area is available for studying.
The acquisitions program operates via an online request form and through meetings between librarians, departments, and faculty members. Materials requested by faculty are given priority. Weeding policies are developed with faculty guidance.
Support for off-campus students and programs
Faculty members can ask that a librarian be “embedded” in a course to assist with specific research assignments. The “embedded librarian” can join in discussion boards, post materials/tutorials, and meet with students via Elluminate. Online/hybrid students also have access to librarians via the Virtual Reference Desk in Elluminate. For quick questions, students can chat with a staff member via Meebo, on the front page of the library website. Materials delivery service is also available for students.
A complete list of Education-specific journals, databases, and reference materials is linked.
6e.5. Describe how the unit will ensure the accessibility of resources to candidates, including candidates in off-campus, and distance learning preparation programs, through electronic means
Many resources are available through the internet and accessed via password through the T.U. webpage and library webpage, specifically. Access to GALILEO and additional databases, the library’s online catalog, Inter-library Loan assistance, and Live Chat with librarians for reference assistance are available through the webpage. The Technical Help Desk for student portal and Blackboard access questions as well as general technical support is available by phone, email, or in person at the Help Desk in the library. Appointments can be made by phone or the webpage to schedule sessions in the Academic Resource Center and Student Support Services for tutoring; tutoring can be arranged in person, by phone, by Elluminate, or through e-mail. Accommodations are provided for students with disabilities through the Office of Disabilities Services. Contact with this office can be done by phone, email, Elluminate, or in person. Accommodations include adaptations of the physical learning environment, acquiring or converting learning resources to an alternate format, and providing special assistance.
The Thomas University Division of Education has no off-campus or distance learning programs.